3 Replies Latest reply on Jan 20, 2012 1:53 PM by SafeBoot

    SafeTech disk access is EXTREMELY SLOW via USB


      I have never gotten the SafeTech product to run properly via USB media (which in this day and age is almost a must have, now that we are getting systems without floppy or optical drives). I have been able to boot into SafeTech via USB, but the application take FOREVER to access anything on the hard drive. Up to 10 minutes just to view the disk information, and sometimes15 minutes to authenticate against a machine key or the SBFS….?


      I’ve created multiple USB boot disk from within “McAfee Endpoint Encryption Manager” using the “Recovery > Create SafeTech boot disk” option with the same results -- extremely slow access to the hard drive.


      It appears that “Endpoint Encryption Manager” is just running a process called “Bootdisk.exe” under “C:\Program Files(x86)\McAfee\Endpoint Encryption Manager\SafeTech” to create the bootable Floppy / USB disk.


      Looking into it further -- the version of “Bootdisk.exe” created by “On Time Informatik” that McAfee provides is from 2005 version 4.17, and the latest evaluation you can download from “On Time” is version 5.2.6. Since 2005, “On Time” has added a switch (which is not available with the old version McAfee provides) “/lba” which states the following, “Forces the boot loader to use LBA instead of CHS BIOS int 13h functions. This option may be required for USB or CD-ROM boot disks which are emulated as floopy disks by the BIOS. By default, floppies are accessed using CHS BIOS functions.”


      My question is; does McAfee own and can they provide the updated version of “Bootdisk.exe” with the “/lba” switch? This may resolve the issues with USB SafeTech disks..? Does anyone else have any other suggestions for a workaround..?



        • 1. Re: SafeTech disk access is EXTREMELY SLOW via USB

          It won't help - the slowdown isn't so much the booting of the image, it's the fact we have to keep going back to the BIOS within the image to read the hard disk.


          We have to use the BIOS, as if we didn't, we'd need to build every possible SATA driver into SafeTech, and to be honest, there's just not that many available for OnTime.


          the workaround of course is to use a WinPE image rather than SafeTech - the usefulness of that tool is really limited to Emergency Boot.

          • 2. Re: SafeTech disk access is EXTREMELY SLOW via USB

            Hi Simon:


            Thanks for the reply – I guess what really confuses me is the fact that I can use the same process, open “McAfee Endpoint Encryption Manager” click “Recovery > Create SafeTech boot disk” and select an old school 3.5” floppy. Connect a USB floppy drive to the “system in question”, boot off that floppy, and bam! Runs like a champ, no slowness whatsoever..? Which lead me to think the “/lba” option might be a solution…?


            I’ve tried creating a USB disk using syslinux with memdisk to emulate a floppy, it loads the .img file that “Bootdisk.exe” creates, but again, it has the same slowness issue as the McAfee method. I’ve even tried various memdisk emulation options without luck..


            The slowness issue is so bad, that I can’t effectively perform an Emergency Boot, which is all I ever use the SafeTech disk for -- well, that and verifying machine keys.


            Which currently limits me to the CD I've created using the .img file, or floppy disk.. and since some new systems are not coming with either, I was hoping for a quick / working USB solution. ;-/

            • 3. Re: SafeTech disk access is EXTREMELY SLOW via USB



              The challenge is accessing ANY drive, on any controller, from an OS which has no specific drivers for it - it's a bit like why you have to press f6 to load storage drivers into Windows setup. Unfortunately those drivers don't even exist for Ontime.